D&D 5e: Light Domain Cleric Guide

D&D 5e: Light Domain Cleric Guide

Role in the Party

You like to heal the party, but you also like to hit things really hard, and most importantly you like to cast buffs and debuffs with the occasional dose of godly wrath? This is the Light Domain Cleric. The Cleric that can cast fireball at level 5, is fire and the golden light of the gods. Hell hath no fury to match yours, so rock into the lich’s lair and show ‘em who’s the boss, champ.

[Epic]

Good

Meh

Bad

Light Domain Features

Bonus Cantrip: Straight out the gate at level 1, you get the Light cantrip as a bonus. Who needs darkvision?

Warding FlareAlso at first level, when attacked by a creature you can see within 30ft of you, you can use your reaction to impose disadvantage on the attack roll, creating a quick flash of light to distract them. This doesn’t work on creatures that can’t be blinded. You can use it a number of times equal to your wisdom modifier, a minimum of once, and regain all expended uses after a long rest.

Channel Divinity: Radiance of the Dawn: Starting at second level, use channel divinity to banish darkness. Any magical darkness within 30ft of you is dispelled. Also, each hostile creature within 30ft of you must make a con save, and takes radiant damage equal to 2D10+ Cleric level on a failed save, or half that on a successful one. This doesn’t work on creatures with total cover. Honestly, even with just the ability to banish magical darkness, this can infuriate DMs. Being able to banish magical darkness AND become an AOE radiant damage dealer? Chef’s kiss. Gorgeous.

Improved Flare: Starting at sixth level, you can use Warding Flare when a creature you can see within 30ft of you attacks a creature other than you. Worth noting, ‘A creature you can see’ is broader than you think when light domain clerics get Faerie Fire as a domain spell.

Potent SpellcastingAt level 8, add your wisdom modifier o damage dealt with any Cleric Cantrip. Remember, it’s for cantrips only. Still, you get some spicy ones.

Corona of LightStarting at 17th level, you can use your action to activate an aura of sunlight that lasts for 1 minute or until you dismiss it using another action. You emit bright light in a 60ft radius and dim light 30ft beyond that. Your enemies in the bright light have disadvantage on saving throws against any spell that deals fire or radiant damage.

While less immediately impressive than other late game effects, this A. makes all darkvision completely irrelevant for the rest of your campaign (Time to be smug, humans), and B. makes your Fireball even more terrifying. Also pretty much all of your other spells, but we all know that now and then, you just need to light the whole room on fire and let god sort ‘em out.

Strengths

Have you ever gotten annoyed at half the party yelling “I HAVE DARKVISION” any time the DM mentions a dimly lit room? Feel free to blind them all with your godly radiance while you make the DM annoyed that their puzzle of ‘walking blindly through a magically dark maze’ is completely irrelevant. 

As with many clerics, this cleric is meant for combat. This is a cleric that does not screw around with this ‘good vibes and heals only’ nonsense. They are here to praise the sun and get shit done. 

Weaknesses

Never take this cleric on a stealth mission. Glowing beacons are usually a bad idea when trying to be sneaky, better to leave this cleric to the ‘distraction team’ or the ‘extraction team’. 

Best Race Options

Gem Dragonborn (Crystal): From Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons. Just to be thematic, Crystal is a good option (gaining Radiant resistance/breath weapon), but if you want to be oppositional you could use Topaz ( Necrotic), or go with a Red Chromatic dragonborn or Brass/Gold metallic dragonborn, depending on your preferences. Gem dragonborn is the one chosen here because the damage types are unique and interesting, being telepathic is a big deal for the party, and starting at 5th level you get Gem Flight that lets you fly once per long rest, and flying is ALWAYS the best option. This is the only race mentioned without darkvision, but with this build, who needs darkvision?

Radiant Consumption Aasimar: Double-down on your “The light of the sun purges all” mentality by literally emitting searing light from your eyes and mouth and damaging each creature (Remember, it doesn’t say each hostile creature, so watch your buddies) within 10 ft of you with radiant damage once per long rest. This race does make for a redundant light cantrip, so maybe ask your DM if you can change one of your given cantrips to something else that’s thematic. Alternatively, you could take Radiant Soul for the light wings and extra radiant damage, which is probably the better option but less ‘biblical angel terrifying’ than radiant consumption.

Fire Genasi: Darkvision, fire resistance, and a variety of fun fire-themed spells you can cast as you level up, in addition to your Cleric spells. A nice way to round things out with a relatively ‘normal’ character. 

Choosing the Right Skills

As a level 1 cleric, choose two from HistoryInsightMedicinePersuasion, and Religion.

If you’re a Cleric and you’re not taking religion, it feels a bit weird. If you’re a cleric, you should only need Medicine if you know your DM is going to make it impossible for you to heal at some point (Whether because something happened to your ties with your god, or because you’re going to go on an insanely long quest with no resting points), or you know you’re going to be blowing all your spell slots lighting enemies on fire, which is fair.

Fitting Feats

Elemental Adept: Choose fire. Spells you cast ignore resistances to the damage of the chosen type, and when you roll damage for a spell you cast that deals with damage of that chosen type, you can treat any 1 on a damage die as a 2. 

Heavily Armored, then Heavy Armor Master: Listen, you’re not stealthing with this build, so get yourself some heavy armor and become a tank. Heavy Armor Master ups your Strength score by 1 for Heavily armored and gain proficiency with Heavy armor, then gain another 1 to strength for Heavy Armor Master. Then while you’re wearing heavy armor, all bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage done to you by nonmagical weapons is reduced by 3. 

War Caster: Advantage on Con saving throws made to maintain concentration when you take damage, perform somatic components of spells even with weapons or shield in one or both hands, and when a hostile creature’s movement provokes an opportunity attack from you, you can use your reaction to cast a spell rather than making an opportunity attack (but that spell must have a 1-action cast time and only target that creature). 

Optimal Backgrounds

Acolyte: It would be a sin to talk Clerics and not mention Acolyte. Skill proficiencies in Insight and Religion (freeing up your two cleric options), two languages of your choice, typical equipment, and 15 GP. Your feature is Shelter of the Faithful, which will mean you and your adventuring companions can get free healing or care at temples of your faith, though you’d still have to provide material components needed for spells. No free rezzes. You can also get support from others of your faith for you (and only you) at a modest lifestyle, assuming you and your party aren’t all just bunking at the same tavern all the time.

Folk Hero: Another good one for a cleric with a more heroic bent. Skill proficiencies in Animal Handling and Survival, tool proficiencies in one type of artisan’s tools (might I suggest glassworking, for a Light cleric?) and land vehicles, Equipment includes one set of artisan’s tools of your choice, some common stuff, and a pouch with 10gp. Your feature is Rustic Hospitality, which means that you can find a place to rest and recuperate among other commoners, who may even shield you from the law or other searchers, though they won’t risk their life for you.

Haunted One: If Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft is allowed, the Haunted One background makes for a beautifully thematic option. Choose between two skill proficiencies among Arcana, Investigation, Religion, and Survival. (Arcana and Religion are probably your best bets, freeing up one Cleric skill). Choose two languages, one of which must be Abyssal, Celestial, Deep Speech, Draconic, Infernal, Primordial, Sylvan, or Undercommon. Get a monster hunter’s pack containing a chest, crowbar, hammer, three wooden stakes, a holy symbol, a flask of holy water, a set of manacles, a steel mirror, a flask of oil, a tinder-box, and three torches, a horror trinket, a set of common clothes, and one silver piece. Your feature is ‘Heart of Darkness’, where everyone who sees you knows you’ve seen some things, and most commoners will do their best to help you, as long as you don’t show yourself to be a danger to them. They may even fight alongside you if you find yourself facing an enemy alone.

Multiclassing Options

Circle of Wildfire Druid: By tapping into Circle of Wildfire, you can do more fire damage, have a little fire spirit friend, and use your fire spirit to add a bonus to healing and damage. Multiclassing between Light Domain Cleric and Circle of Wildfire Druid, it would be a struggle to choose between the two. The hard part is going to be finding good armor that the druid can wear.

Circle of Stars Druid: Less good than Circle of Wildfire, but unbelievably thematic. Instead of fire damage from Circle of Wildfire, you do more radiant damage more frequently. This is a very adaptable and changeable subclass to take on, and not a bad option for the Light Domain combo.

Would I recommend playing a Light Domain Cleric?

Absolutely. This isn’t the nice guy cleric you can get away with yelling at for heals. If you tell this cleric how to do your job, he may barbecue you in the name of his god, and honestly, you’d deserve it. This is the ‘Be Not Afraid’ cleric who you should absolutely be afraid of, and frankly if you’re not making them into an almost eldrich terror, what are you even doing in life? Give this a play, go teach the Paladin the true meaning of Smite. 

Sage Gamers

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